In the woods, we’re safe. No one can see us.
We can finally talk about the things we want to talk about.
If we’re approached, we’ll hear it. We know how to listen.
We lengthen the long lies out of one another, settling
into a tender bed of earth. Where we belong.
Who can hear us? Who?
We dream of speaking only to ourselves, the rough trees
and their shimmer of sweet sap and glitter, the creatures
they host (our ghost selves – our forgottens, the skunk
and possum of 8 year old lies).
It’s better now, this way.
Technically, I’m not allowed to spend the night at your house:
your father has a gun, and we only know because he told us
(said in my mother’s voice).
When our bodies
become cold and small, we gather the ground – a mix
of dirt and fragrant needles— closer to our skin, our jackets,
knowing we’ll be scolded.
We don’t know how to keep anything clean.
MICHELLE DETORIE is the author of numerous chapbooks including Fur Birds (Insert Press), How Hate Got Hand (eohippus labs), and Bellum Letters (Dusie) and Poetry Editor for Entropy. She also makes visual poems, poetry objects, time-based poetry, and curates the public art project, The Poetry Booth. Her first full-length collection, After-Cave, is just out with Ahsahta Press. She recently completed The Sin in Wilderness, a book-length erasure about love, animals, and affective geography. Her current project is a series of swamp poems narrated by dragons and bitchy ghosts.
Curatorial note: The following poems are a response to a call for poetry about rape culture for the annual Delirious Advent Feature; the call is in turn an immediate response to the Rolling Stone story “A Rape on Campus” about rape culture at the University of Virginia. However, they are also part of a larger conversation about rape in poetry communities. Curated by Jessica Smith and Susana Gardner.